Garmin 310XT Design Flaw

4 03 2010

Do you sweat when you workout? If you do, the Garmin 310XT may not be the best option for you!

I’ve been having some trouble lately with my Garmin and the HR reading, when using some specific shirts on longer run workouts. It actually took me a while to associate the shirt and the problem. The fact is that when a shirt is soaked wet, it sticks to the chest and somehow interferes with the signal. Now, to be honest I have only a couple shirts that are causing this problem. BTW, when I pull the shirt from the chest, the readings instantly go back to normal.

The sad note is that I first seen this on a race, although at the time I didn’t know what was the issue, but it was at the IM 70.3 Muskoka after throwing a cup of water on my head to cool down at the run…

In the IM France they had an “Anti-Garmin HR” device (below). At the time I was using my Polar S325X, no problem!!

You can't do this and expect Garmin to read you HR!

Anyhow, after sending an email to Garmin, I got the following reply:

Dear Hans Winter,

With the Premium Heart monitor the contacts are flat to be more comfortable. Then what happens is that during times of heavy perspiration the signal arches and there is not a way around it with the Premium Heart monitor. Some people have tried using gels under the contacts to ensure this does not happen but it is something we are looking into to find a definite solution. Thank you for your questions and have a good day.

Well, great GPS/HR but, this is a pretty bad design flaw. I never had that issue with my Polar. Every time it didn’t work, I had to change the battery and it would work again… wet or not!

Update: my HR monitor died this year (May/2011) and I decided to buy the Timex HR piece (strap and monitor) and is working flawlessly with the 310XT. Highly recommended!



4 responses

10 03 2010

Hey Hans, I’ve been having the same issue and i was just going to see if i could return the strap in favour of the non-premium version. It’s so frustrating trying to stick to the right zone when I know the watch is incorrect. The funny thing is I don’t recall having this problem in the summer. I thought is was static, but when I use the contact gel it doesn’t make a difference, the HR is still erratic. Thus far the Garmin is useless as a HR monitor. I’ve gone back to PE and pace based on my most recent T-pace. There is quite a bit of chatter about this issue on the Garmin forum

10 03 2010
Hans Winter

Well, misery likes company. 😦
I found out doing my workouts in the treademill, where I sweat much more. Funny that some shirts are worse than others.
I’ve been using my HR Strap from the PowerTap, which is not water-proof, but doesn’t have as much problems.
Now seriously , unbelievable… you wouldn’t think that Garmin would do such a bad design. They should recalled it for sure.

4 03 2010

This is ridiculous… what about using it during the swim portion of the triathlon?


4 03 2010
Hans Winter

They actually say explicitly in the product home page that it is waterproof, but it will not read in the water (while swimming). I knew that… but since I don’t really look at it while swimming, that is OK.
Having said that, my polar always gave me the readings under the wetsuit, which is a great info to have after the race.

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